South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway Council spending cut education impact examined

Council HQ Image copyright Billy McCrorie
Image caption A special meeting had been called to discuss the impact on education in the region

A special meeting has been held to look at the potential impact of council spending cuts on education in Dumfries and Galloway.

One of the issues on the agenda was a change in criteria for one teacher schools.

It will see the threshold for composite classes upped from 19 to 25.

Although that is in line with national standards, safety fears have been raised about having one person in charge of that number of children.

Concerns have also been raised about how many more schools would become single teacher.

'Transitional period'

Ian Carruthers, leader of the Conservative group which called the meeting, insisted they should pause and re-examine the policy.

"What we are saying is that a transitional period should take place here," he said.

"The reaction from the public has told us quite clearly they are not ready for this - they want to actually prepare."

He said there was sufficient money available in the local authority's "change fund" to allow for such a delay.

However, Labour's Jeff Leaver, who chairs the children, young people and lifelong learning committee, said the council had to take action now.

'Bigger cuts'

"We are not at the end of this process, we are going to face even bigger cuts next year if we just park these issues and say we are not going to make these savings," he said.

"What was suggested was that we use the council's reserves.

"The problem is once you have used the reserves you can't do it again next time, you will run out of reserves."

Some parents who attended the meeting said they were concerned that they were not being listened to.

They also voiced frustration at being unable to speak during proceedings.

The council's Labour/SNP administration agreed that the issue would be looked at again at a committee meeting in July before identifying possible ways of mitigating the impact of any cuts.

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